Not long ago, the German keyboard manufacturer Cherry released the MX Ultra Low Profile mechanical keyboard shaft. The biggest highlight is its ultra-thin design with a height of only 3.5mm. This shaft will be installed on the Alien m15 R4/m17 R4 as soon as possible. In the series of laptops, this laptop is still on pre-sale.
In fact, putting a mechanical keyboard in a laptop is nothing new. It can even be said to be a "Renaissance." If you turn back the time for decades, you will find that the early laptop computers were all mechanical keyboard.
Installing a mechanical keyboard into a laptop is a "Renaissance" move
Ancient personal computers have nothing to do with the word "thin and light", whether it is the early IBM 5100 or the world’s first portable computer (Portable Computer), founded by Osborne Computer Corporation in 1981 The Osborne 1 launched is about the same size as today's PC host.
▲Image source: artstation.com
Although Osborne 1 is not thin and light, compared to desktop PCs of the same period, such as the Apple II launched in 1977, the former is considered portable and looks exactly like the father of Will Smith in the movie "When Happiness Knocks on the Door". The high-tech therapeutic instrument represented by Yijiao has a handle on the top, which is convenient for users to carry and go out.
Osborne 1 weighs 24 pounds (approximately 10.9 KG). From today's perspective, it is definitely a giant, but in the past, it undoubtedly created a precedent for mobile computers. It was launched at a price of $1,795 and sold 125,000 units that year. It earned 70 million in revenue for Osborne Computer in the year it was released.
Since then, as a pioneer, Osborne 1 has shown another possibility for personal computers: in addition to constantly breaking through the performance ceiling, it can also take into account portability. Subsequent personal mobile computers became more and more portable, until the birth of the first laptop (Laptop), finally achieved a thin and light form.
Laptop, as the name suggests, refers to computers that can be used on the lap, Osborne 1 is obviously not.
The T1000 launched by Toshiba Japan in 1985 weighs about 2.9KG and has a 9-inch monochrome screen, which is closer to modern laptops in form. It was hailed as "the world's first real DOS laptop" by the "PC World" magazine at the time. (First real DOS laptop).
Early notebook computers, whether it’s Toshiba, Compaq, ThinkPad, or Apple, are quite "considerable." Even if manufacturers want to reduce the thickness of laptops, they will not be the first to consider improving the keyboard, but the screen, processor, Large parts such as motherboards, so laptops of that period still used the same mechanical keyboards as desktop computers.
Why do so many people love mechanical keyboards? It is not only a better input feel, but also one of the reasons why it survives to this day. Many antique-grade mechanical keyboards have gone through years of percussion tests, and the input texture remains the same. If you want to highlight your personality, changing a set of keycaps is like changing a new keyboard.
Later, "lightweight and portable" gradually became a mainstream selling point. The mechanical keyboard that used to be standard on laptops was gradually replaced by a membrane keyboard.
When a heavy circuit board is integrated into a thin film like a cicada wing, the cost of the laptop keyboard is greatly reduced. The membrane keyboard also has the advantages of moisture resistance, dust resistance, acid and alkali resistance, and laptop manufacturers are like a treasure.
Membrane keyboards are on the offensive. Until the beginning of this century, they have captured most of the market share. Mechanical keyboards almost disappeared. Fortunately, the e-sports trend brought by games such as CS and StarCraft has made it easier to handle and operate more simply and accurately. The keyboard is back in people's field of vision, but that is another story, and I have a chance to talk about it later.
The membrane keyboard brings the effect of "slimming" to the laptop, but the touch feel is also greatly reduced. What's more, even in pursuit of the ultimate thinness, I go astray. Pit MacBook.
The crash of the MacBook butterfly keyboard
In 2015, Apple launched the MacBook series of laptops. For the first time, it adopted a butterfly keyboard design and replaced the original scissor keyboard structure. When people thought that Apple would eventually bring thinness and mechanical feel to laptop products, this 12 The performance of the inch MacBook poured cold water on users and Apple themselves.
After the product went on the market, many users said after using it that it was difficult to accept this kind of touch that was almost on a metal plate. The short key travel and poor feedback touch attracted many voices of resistance.
I also bought a 12-inch MacBook at the time, I bought it back at the same time, and I also had a mechanical keyboard. Although the keycaps on the MacBook are not small, there is no obvious pressure and rebound feedback from the fingertips during input, which causes me to make typos frequently, and the input efficiency decreases.
Now when I think back to the time when I used the MacBook, the love and hatred for it is inseparable from the word "thin".
Its lightness makes it easy for me to carry it; but its thinness is at the expense of the keyboard feel.
However, the real reason for the MacBook being verbally criticized is the frequent failures caused by the structural design.
Beginning in 2016, some voices appeared on social networking sites. Some users reported that their MacBook keyboards were malfunctioning. It was manifested as accidental repetition of letters and characters, letters or characters not appearing, keys feeling sticky or inconsistent key feedback, etc. Apple official It is said that this is because the butterfly keyboard is easy to get stuck due to dust, fine chips, etc., and cannot work normally.
Apple later improved and introduced two new versions of the butterfly keyboard, adding a new film layer and changing the materials and processes used, but the problem still exists.
So we saw the return of the scissor keyboard design on the 16-inch MacBook Pro launched in November 2019. The new scissor design has also received positive feedback from most users. Therefore, the Arm chip version of MacBook Air and MacBook will be launched at the end of 2020. Pro, also used back the scissor design.
Following the victory of the US MacBook user's class action lawsuit against Apple in March this year, we should not see Apple launching another butterfly keyboard product in the short term.
"Clear the chaos", Cherry introduced the ultra-thin mechanical shaft of the notebook
So the question is, with the lessons learned from the MacBook, why does Cherry launch the MX Ultra Low Profile mechanical keyboard based on the butterfly structure?
In 2018, Cherry released the new MX Low Profile shaft at CES in Las Vegas, which is also a mechanical keyboard shaft for laptops and other products. It changes the structure of the traditional cross shaft. At the same time, the height of the shaft is greatly reduced.
The height of the regular MX red shaft is 18.5mm, while the height of the MX short shaft is only 11.9mm, while the new X-type gull-wing mechanical keyboard is only 3.5mm high.
The horizontal spring-type shaft allows the keyboard to have a 1.8mm paragraph keystroke, and the trigger pressure is 45cN. Compared with the old butterfly structure, it has better feel feedback, and has a thinner body compared with the vertical shaft. , It can be regarded as an unbiased mechanical shaft.
In recent years, many gaming laptops have used mechanical keyboards, such as MSI GT83 Titan, ROG Gunsling 5, and Acer Predator Blade 900, but their stature will inevitably become heavy.
Take a look at the first batch of alien m15 R4 equipped with MX gull-wing mechanical keyboard. The thickness of the whole machine is 17.9mm, which is not inferior to many thin and light notebooks. I am afraid that I will not be able to complain about the thickness of game notebooks in the future.
The birth of the MX Ultra Low Profile shaft may really change the reputation of the butterfly keyboard and become a savior to change the feel of the laptop keyboard.
Source of the picture: pcmag
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